Combustible Celluloid
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With: Catherine Deneuve, Gérard Depardieu, Gilbert Melki, Malik Zidi, Lubna Azabal, Tanya Lopert, Nabila Baraka, Idir Elomri, Jabir Elomri, Nadem Rachati
Written by: André Téchiné, Laurent Guyot, Pascal Bonitzer
Directed by: André Téchiné
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Language: French with English subtitles
Running Time: 90
Date: 03/18/2013

Changing Times (2006)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Tangiers for Fears

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardieu appear together onscreen for the first time since Francois Truffaut's The Last Metro (1980). Depardieu plays Antoine, an engineer who arrives in Tangiers, Morocco for a six-month job. It turns out he's come on purpose so that he can look up his former lover, Cecile (Catherine Deneuve). Cecile works as the host of a radio show and is married to a younger Moroccan man, a doctor (Gilbert Melki). Her half-Moroccan/half-French son Sami (Malik Zidi) visits from Paris with his girlfriend, Nadia (Lubna Azabal), and her son, Said (Jabir Elomri), by another man. Nadia is using drugs and Sami is having a bisexual fling with Bilal (Nadem Rachati), a Moroccan who cares for a large estate. That's a lot of drama, but the thrust of the movie comes from the lovesick Antoine, who dreams of reuniting with Cecile. Writer/director André Téchiné (Strayed) is not a flashy director, though he does cook up certain lovely moments like Antoine and Cecile tromping through the woods after her car has stalled. Rather, he's intelligent and intuitive, getting up close to his characters and snatching glimpses of their souls with only the tiniest effort. In just 90 minutes, he swerves around these many family mini-dramas and winds up with a complete picture. Only Depardieu's character rocks the boat, seeming a bit too much like a refugee from a storybook. The great Pascal Bonitzer (La Belle Noiseuse, The Story of Marie and Julien) co-wrote the screenplay.

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